We finally made it to Kyoto for Brian's day off yesterday. It was a very hot day and we walked nearly 8 and a half miles (actually it was 8.34 in Kyoto, we looked it up on walkjogrun.net. I am sure we did the other .2 in Kobe). There was one day in Paris when we also walked 8 miles when I was pregnant with Jane so we have a history of 8 mile walks. We love our wandering tourisim. It is the best way way with kids who need frequent stops and we got to see some really amazing things on and off the beaten path. I will have to have Brian fill in details, he pays attention to where we are going and the names of things. It was such a fun day, even with the extreme sweating. Our kids were such great little troopers. They really are great travel kids.
One of my favorite parts of the day was wandering through a very large cemetery area. It was so beautiful and peaceful and no other tourists, or anyone for that matter. Kyoto is amazing because it is just temple and shrine after temple and shrine.
We stopped here for a run around for our kids because there was a group of Japanese kids playing and making a lot of noise. We have told Colin so many times that these are special places where we have to be quiet and respectful so he was very amazed to find kids playing. We followed their lead and let the kids play. There was a very cute little Japanese boy who kept touching Jane's head. Colin found a group of three somewhat older boys and it was fun to watch him trying to connect with them. He went from talking to trying to initiate tag to a poking game which actually seemed to get off the ground for a minute. Then he tripped on a rock and skinned his knee a bit.
Jane made a slide.
It's our understanding that the brightly colored shrines and temples relate to the Shinto rituals, and are more concerned with events for the living- births, weddings etc. And the darker colored structures tend to be Buddhist and deal more in rituals surrounding the dead. This may or may not be an accurate summary.
Sometimes we let kids ride on top of the stroller.
Where is Colin?
There were little stands of bamboo forest here and there. It's cool to see the different types of vegetation.
This is at the Silver Temple. It's right up against the mountains on the east side of Kyoto. The gardens (as you can see) are immaculate. Every tiny bit of vegetation is tended to. We saw a man with a little broom sweeping up every little bit of dropped plant material in one of the wooded areas.
One of the buildings at the silver temple. There were also areas of white sand that were meticulously sculpted, supposedly to enhance the effect of moonlight at night.
We got this photo after carrying the stroller with sleeping Jane up lots and lots of stairs.
I liked our stroller's reflection in this random old tv.
We walked the entire 3 km of the Philosopher's Path. It was so lovely.
This is the gateway to one temple. It is the largest gate of its kind in Japan.
I think these lanterns may relate to Gion Matsura, one of Japan's largest festivals that took place here about a week ago. Leading up to the festival they have three evenings of celebration. They are called the eve, the eve-eve, and the eve-eve-eve (English translation).
Kyoto is an interesting blend of zen paradise and bustling city. This is on one side of the street, and below is the other side.
Before heading back to the train we wandered through this pedestrian neighborhood, called Sannen-zaka. Things seem to take a break on Monday, since the Saturday and Sunday are nonstop activity here. Se we caught this picturesque district during an uncharacteristically quiet time. Walking by one house, we heard someone playing a traditional plucked instrument, maybe a Koto. It was kind of magical, though I'm sure it would be fun with everything open.